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58: The Film

Spirituality & Health Magazine
reviewed by Kristine Morris

58: The Film

Directed by Tim and Tony Neeves

Documentary DVD, live58.org/thefilm

58: The Film is about an unprecedented global action on the part of Christians, churches, and world poverty-fighting organizations to help the 1.4 billion people on the planet who are living in extreme poverty. In the Old Testament, Isaiah 58 calls upon all who would be righteous to loosen the bonds of the oppressed, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and house the homeless. Partners in “58” plan for their action to become the largest and most unified effort ever made by the global church to end extreme poverty in our lifetime.

While some may see this goal as unattainable, for the action’s organizers, including Compassion International’s Dr. Scott Todd, the questions isn’t “Is it possible?” but “How fast can we do it?” Those who are part of 58 believe that it can be done in two decades and have set the year 2035 as their goal.

Surprisingly, statistics support their optimism. Worldwide, the percentage of people living in extreme poverty has been declining, dropping from 52 percent to 26 percent in the last 24 years, and child mortality and the rates of disease infection have declined as well. According to figures released by UNICEF, 1.8 billion people in the developing world have gained access to clean water and 1.3 billion to improved sanitation facilities since 1990. Yet much remains to be done.

The film is a catalyst for action,” says director Tony Neeves, and its distribution plan is designed to allow as many groups of people as possible “to experience its astonishing stories of the global church rising up to do the unimaginable in our lifetime.” David Evans, US president of Food for the Hungry, one of the 10 organizations affiliated with the 58 initiative, called the film both “astounding and stirring,” and believes that it can ignite “a passion for unprecedented action” to end extreme poverty.

This beautiful, exciting, suspenseful, truthful, and hard-hitting film never preaches as it takes us into the homes and hearts of the world’s poorest. Other films and initiatives have taken us there too, but this one is different: it opens our eyes to real reasons to have hope for the future.

 


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